Former L'Occitane chief targets Body Shop buy

The Body Shop is in the sights of the man who used to run L’Occitane with Emmanuel Osti teaming up with CVC Capital Partners for a £650m bid, according to reports. The 40-year-old ethical beauty chain is being sold by L’Oréal, which has owned it for around a decade.


The Body Shop was a pioneer in ethical retail but its USP has been eroded in recent years


The company has struggled to achieve growth in recent years as its anti-animal testing and generally ethical stance has become more of a norm in the cosmetics sector, undermining what had been a very powerful USP. Its revenue was virtually flat last year with revenues in Q4 reaching around £82m.

L’Oréal originally paid around £652m for the business in 2006 and is believed to have put a £650m purchase price on the 3,000-store chain, although suggestions last month wer that it wanted closer to £850m.

Osti and CVC are not alone in eyeing the chain, however. The Sunday Times reported that private equity investors from Advent International to Apax Partners (which part owns Karl Lagerfeld) have shown an interest. But it also said that the complicated international partnerships The Body Shop has could be a stumbling block as they make it hard to assess the overall health of the business.

Osti has a strong reputation in the industry. He helped L’Occitane become one of the most interesting players in the modern beauty sector, combining its traditional/heritage approach based on its Provencal roots with a willingness to embrace advanced technology.

He left the chain two years ago and The Sunday Time said he has been courted by private equity firms in recent months since the Body Shop has been on the market.

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